Thursday, September 7, 2017

Admitting Faults and Flaws

This morning I want to discuss a subject that some would never put out in the open: Faults, flaws, and self-doubt. I even had to think whether I even wanted to talk about this. If I admit my flaws and lack of professional training, will that mean others won’t see me as an artist? 

pastel painting in process
But it’s an important topic. I know many artists struggle from time to time with self-doubt. Talking about it helps us get over the hurdles. Talking helps us realize we are not alone. Talking helps us work through whatever issues we are having so we can get on with our work with clearer minds. 

Talking about, and admitting, faults and flaws do not make us less-than. It’s not about being Debbie-downers. It’s about life and living. We have bad days along with the good. We need to get things out of us so we can do better art. It’s clearing the way for our art to improve and evolve. It’s admitting we have self-doubts, and yes, sometimes we need a little outside pep talk.

I am an artist! I say this vehemently and I cannot deny this drive within me. I have to paint (and write). My work in charcoal landscape drawing has slowly evolved over the past few years as I began adding hints of color (with pastels) to the drawings. Last year I switched almost entirely over to pastel painting. I loved my charcoals, but the pastels have moved me into a new dimension with my art and I am excited and love what I’m doing even more.

What does this have to do with admitting faults? Faults can be stumbling blocks. I will never see myself as good enough if I play the same old scenario in my head of how can I be a real artist if I never went to art school or take lessons with anyone. 

I can’t let those thoughts continue to stew inside. I have to let them out so I can get into my work with joy. Plus, I want to evolve. I want to get better. There was always that part of me that would take a couple of classes, then strike out on my own. I don’t want to be like other artists. I don’t want to do what they are all doing.

I try to get out to talk with other artists (often non-artists have no idea how we think). It’s important to spend time with those who “know.” Another way is to read of art books (something I’ve never done) and the books don’t have to be on art you like. I picked up a couple of books on pastel painting and one is especially throwing up hurdles and making me feel like there is no way I can ever be considered a professional artist … because the style he is teaching is something I am unwilling to do. 

So, my biggest fault: Lack of training. I can rant and rave over how, in junior and senior high art classes, I was never taught the very basics of art. How to see color, what the color wheel actually means and how to use it, values, composition, and so much more – I didn’t learn any of it! I took adult ed. classes in oil and acrylic painting in my young adult life and I still wasn’t taught those basics! How could I have had that early training and not be taught the basics? (Or is this just how I’m seeing it now?)

At this stage of my life, I am not going to go back and learn all those basics. I have come too far. It would be different if I didn’t know anything. There’s too much going on in my life to take classes. Plus, there is a part of me determined to make my own way in my chosen medium. That doesn’t mean I won’t continue to grow with my art. And yes, I’ll continue to read and pick up bits and pieces that I can use in my own evolution.

Are these faults and flaws? Maybe to some people. Maybe to me as long as I let those negative thoughts hinder me. Instead, I’ll fall back to my own style: Figuring it out for myself, picking up tips here and there, and making my own rules with my style and technique.